• November 16-17, 2019
  • Javits Center | New York

Advisory Council

Benoit Racquet

Master Chocolatier, BE Chocolat

BE Chocolat, Initiator of Tastes. BEnoit is BElgian master chocolatier from Ceria culinary institute and was Chocolate Chef at the Belgian pavilion in Shanghai World Expo. BE Chocolat is exclusively using Callebaut Fairtrade Finest Belgian Chocolate. Production is hand made locally in USA in small batches to preserve the subtleness of tastes of premium ingredients.

Daniel Domingo

Specialty Cocoa Trader, Atlantic Cocoa Company/ECOM Trading

Christopher Elbow

Owner, Christopher Elbow Chocolates

After working as a pastry chef in several high profile restaurants around the country, Christopher discovered chocolate as his true passion. Founded in 2003, Christopher Elbow Chocolates is known for handcrafting bonbons and confections using the world finest chocolate and ingredients while creating eye catching works of art. Christopher's creations have garnered numerous accolades and awards from national media outlets such as Oprah, Food and Wine Magazine and Bon Appetite. Today Christopher operates 2 retail stores in Kansas City and San Francisco as well as an online boutique.

Ed Seguine

Founder, Seguine Cacao Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors

Ed Seguine has created craft chocolate from bean-to-bar for over a third of a century. Seguine has extensive experience in origin and working with farmers, coops, research groups and companies in developing cacaos. Seguine has worked at all equipment scales from 100 gm to tonne scale equipment to create award winning chocolates from these beans. His passion for the diversity and purity of flavor in chocolate has led him to chair the ICCO Fine and Flavour Panel, Chairs the Cocoa of Excellence Technical Committee, and Chairs the Fine Chocolate Industry Association-Heirloom Cocoa Preservation Sensory Committee.

Elizabeth Falkner

Chef/Author/Artist/ Consultant and President, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

Chef Elizabeth Falkner is a world recognized, award winning chef and continues to be a leader and pioneer in the culinary arts. Falkner worked her way up in restaurants and then owned restaurants in San Francisco, California for over twenty years before moving to New York in 2012. She and has been a James Beard Foundation Award nominee (2005) and relentlessly continues to cook for many charity events and Food and Wine Festivals all over the world. Cooking competitions have been a favorite “sport” for Chef Falkner and she has competed in multiple culinary competitions including Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef, Redemption,” “Iron Chef America” and “Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs,” in which she was a finalist and runner up. 

Fritz Knipschildt

Knipschildt Chocolatier

For over 13 years House of Knipschildt has been renowned for creating exquisite quality artisan chocolate. Knipschildt Chocolatier is the oldest brand of House of Knipschildt and delivers preeminent quality handmade, hand-painted and hand packed artisan chocolate. For Knipschildt Chocolatier, Fritz Knipschildt combines exquisite old European craftsmanship, intriguing avant-garde flavor combinations and state-of the art handpicked natural ingredients to create artistic customized chocolate pieces. Fritz Knipschildt’s early passion and innovative ideas to creatively infuse elements from the savory kitchen into the world of chocolate and confection have been highly awarded at numerous national and international food competitions through the last decade and is frequently showcased on national TV stations like The Food Network and CNBC as well as in major publications like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Oprah Magazine. 

Geert Kiesekoms

VP & GM, North America & Canada, Barry Callebaut USA

Håkan Mårtensson

Master Chocolatier, FIKA Chocolate Factory

Master Chocolatier and Chocolate Sculptor, Håkan Mårtensson was born in the heart of Sweden’s southern countryside and began to study the techniques of baking, pastry preparation and confectionary design while in high school. In 2003, Håkan began to experiment with creating chocolate sculptures after witnessing his mentor, Stefan Johnson-Petersén, carving chocolate into designs. His talents were noticed and Håkan was invited to join the Swedish Culinary Team, setting him up for high levels of success in the international arena. His team won silver in the 2006 World Cup, and in 2008, they won bronze in the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt Germany (IKA Olympiade Der Köche). In the individual showpiece category, Håkan proved to be a force to be reckoned with, earning the gold medal in chocolate sculpturing.  Not long after his international successes, Mårtensson set his sights on New York City. Today he works alongside FIKA founder, Lars Åkerlund, as FIKA´s Master Chocolatier.

Jansen Chan

Director, Pastry Operations International Culinary Center

Jansen Chan is currently navigating the next generation of pastry chefs as Director of Pastry Operations at the International Culinary Center in New York City and Campbell, California. He combines his unique training as a former architect with years of working in fine-dining kitchens: the Fifth Floor, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, and Mix in Las Vegas. His most recent position as Executive Pastry Chef at New York’s Oceana Restaurant provided accolades and awards from major publications such as the New York Times and TimeOutNY.

Jessica Spaulding

Owner, Harlem Chocolate Factory

Jessica has been working with chocolate since she was 9 years old. Although she was born allergic, she discovered her love for chocolate work while trying to get around her mother's strict no sugar rules. Bonding over chocolate, Jessica's mom took her to every Salon du Chocolat, where she could taste chocolates from around the world. This is where Jessica's imagination ran wild and the seed for Harlem Chocolate Factory was planted. She figured if chocolatiers from around the world were representing their cultures, she should too. 

Martin Howard

The Chocolatina

Martin Howard has worked as a pastry chef for over two decades in venues such as Hudson River Club, Rainbow Room, Beacon restaurant, Neuman’s Kitchen, and many more. In 2009, began to work on performance and singing as his drag persona Chocolatina, Queen of the Dessert. This led to being crowned Miss Stonewall Inn 2009 and hosting many nights at the legendary venue. Accolades such as “elegant yet humorous” (Chocolatier), “his desserts tend toward the spectacular” (Gourmet), “a fantasy” (New York Magazine) and “a wow” (Crain’s) are invariably linked to Martin’s name. In fact, the pastry chef is well known for his divinely decadent and whimsical desserts, which are remarkable for their fabulous flavorings as well as extraordinary eye appeal. In addition to being named one of the country’s top ten pastry chefs two years in row (1997 & 1998) by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines, Martin was James Beard Foundation baking competition’s winner and “People’s Choice Award” honoree which led him to make a grand birthday cake for the annual James Beard Birthday celebration.

Matthew Stevens

Editor-in-Chief, DessertProfessional.com

Richard Leach

Pastry Chef & Consultant

Richard Leach studied at The Culinary Institute of America before landing his first job in New York City at The River Cafe as a cook, eventually moving on to other restaurants and his career as Pastry Chef. Over the last few years, Richard has taken on consulting projects that have teamed him up with kitchens in New York, Charlotte, NC and Tokyo. He has been a part of some of the best restaurants in New York over his career as an Executive Pastry Chef; restaurants like Park Avenue Cafe-Seasons, Aureole, Lespinasse, La Cote Basque, Symphony Cafe, and One Fifth Avenue. He even created and produced cocktails as Cocktail Director at The Hurricane Club. Richard has been recognized twice as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America by Chocolatier Magazine and received Pastry Chef of the Year from the James Beard Foundation. He is also the author of "Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple" which received the Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

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